“What’s your address, buddy?”

On Saturday night we were in double figures and standing or sitting around Ned Devine’s in Herndon as a band called That Guy opened for Junk Food. I should’ve known it would be a weird night when the door guy looked at my license and asked me “what’s your address, buddy?” You’re kidding me, right? I haven’t ever been asked to verify my ID info whether the card I was carrying was legit or not. Do you see these holographic Virginia outlines on my card? Do you know why they put them on? It’s so they’re incredibly difficult to fabricate. D’s sister is two years younger than me and looks much younger than that and you didn’t ask her anything. What the fuck? I determined that evidently I don’t look like myself and he thought I had someone else’s license to go out drinking, because if I was carrying a fake I would totally go to Ned Devine’s. Anyway, as the night went on we’d essentially split into two groups with half of us sitting or standing at a booth in the main room, and the other half 10 yards away standing by the bar. Many of us had not seen many of us for a while and much catching up was to be done while listening to a subpar cover band play. It was near the end of their set, I believe, that it happened.

“You smell that?”

“Yeah, that’s awful.”

“Smells like a stinkbomb.”

If you’ve never smelled a stinkbomb, think rotten eggs outside for 3 days in the sun in July. One of my roommates actually leaned over to a group of smokers to our right and asked them to blow smoke at him because it smelled better than what we were already smelling. I semi-seriously asked the bartender whether I could burn a napkin or something. She said that the stinkbombs had been popping up and that it was evidently the 3rd consecutive week that it happened. That Guy finished up and the smell dissipated, though we couldn’t tell whether it was actually gone or we had just gotten used to the odor. Not much longer would pass before we figured out that it was the former. We smelled it again.

At this point we were irritated. I haven’t touched a stinkbomb since the early 90’s, and I certainly wasn’t anywhere near an adult then, so why, in a place filled with supposed adults (more on that in a moment), was I smelling a stinkbomb? I noted that the people to my left smelled it before me and that’s no small feat considering my documented olfactory superiority. I determined that I was going to find the source of the smell. I walked to the other side of the bar (separated by a wall but with a doorway in the middle through which air could pass). I figured it was the place to start since it was to our left and that was seemingly the direction from which the smell came. I got there and smelled nothing out of the ordinary. I came back to our side, pulled out my phone, opened it to get the screen to brighten, and walked around with my eyes at my feet. A couple of minutes later I found myself back close to our group of standers by the bar and smelling the lingering smell stronger than other places. D came over and asked what I was doing and I told him I was on a mission. Just then, I saw it. A crushed miniature vial of glass just under a table 8 feet from the bar. I shined the light on it and picked up the biggest piece. I smelled it. Jackpot. I put it back down on the floor and washed my hands. I came back to the bar and asked the aforementioned bartender “what would you say if I told you I found the source of the smell?” She alerted other staff and I made a big show of having found it so that the perpetrator would know we were onto him/her. We smelled no more the rest of the night. Of course other things surely stunk.

I’d retaken my spot in our standing circle by the bar and was in the middle of conversation when I felt the drunken lean. You know, the already-drunk-but-I’m-still-going-to-the-bar-for-more-when-I-can’t-hold-myself-up-so-where’s-the-closest-person-to-fall-on? lean. A trashed girl in a black and white striped shirt leaned backwards onto me. I supported her as she regained her balance and continued to the bar. Not long later I was being bumped into by her and another girl, now dancing to Junk Food playing Dirty Little Secret (and playing it well). With my back to the situation I rolled my eyes at the drunken girls who were evidently holding their liquor with a thimble. The Zebra and her friend continued dancing, alternating between bumping into and leaning on me. My level of irritation rose and the next time I was leaned upon heavily, I did what any reasonable person would do. I leaned back, with varying degrees of sharpness depending upon how heavily I was leaned on. The Zebra and her friend noticed, turning up their annoyingness (theirs definitely went to 11), and dancing against me further and one of them smacked my ass a couple of times. I looked over my shoulder at the offender and said “Sorry sweetie. Don’t know you, don’t want to.” They got in my ear. “It’s a big bar, you don’t have to stand here” they slurred I think, because all I heard was “cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck”. Two friends of theirs, one sitting at the bar and one standing near us were apologizing for them. “I’m sorry, don’t mind my friends. They’re just drunk” they said. “Oh I can tell” I replied. “He shoved [the Zebra]!” one exclaimed. One of the peacemakers questioned me about it and I told her I was being bumped and leaned on and I leaned back, but I never laid hands on her. She asked me again, confirming that I didn’t shove her, and I told her I didn’t. They didn’t bother us further.

It’s too bad all this other stuff was happening because I didn’t get to enjoy the band as much as I would’ve liked. I guess the next time a door guy asks me my address I’ll just go elsewhere. I mean if I’m going to have to put up with all that…

Deep Cover is back from Texas to visit and is trying to round up some people to go out somewhere tonight. There’s no telling what’ll happen.

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